Biden is ‘music to my ears,’ gushes Brazil’s Lula

Jason Palmer American Samoa
Image: Video Screenshot

US-Brazilian relations have hit some sour notes under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but the South American leader sang the praises of counterpart Joe Biden Wednesday, calling his pro-worker policies “music to my ears.”

Biden and Lula spoke on the phone for around 30 minutes Wednesday, discussing the fight against climate change, US support for Brazil’s efforts to protect the Amazon rainforest and ways to advance workers’ rights, according to statements from the White House and the Brazilian presidency.

Lula’s office said the pair had discussed a joint initiative on ensuring quality jobs in the 21st-century economy, which the two countries plan to present at the United Nations General Assembly when it opens in September.

“It’s the first time I’ve dealt with a president who is interested in workers,” ex-union leader Lula told Biden, according to his office.

“Your policies and speeches about work are music to my ears.”

The two most populous countries in the Americas have had some awkward moments since veteran leftist Lula, who previously led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, returned to office in January.

Lula, 77, has irked Washington at times, rubbing shoulders with China, griping over the dominance of the US dollar and accusing the United States of “encouraging” the war in Ukraine.

The latter earned him a rebuke from the White House, which accused him of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda” in April.

But ties are warmer than under far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), an admirer of Biden’s own predecessor, Donald Trump.

Biden welcomed Lula at the White House in February, and has sought shared ground, particularly on climate issues.

Biden reiterated his promise to seek $500 million from Congress to support Brazil’s Amazon Fund to protect the rainforest, the White House said.

Lula’s office said he had invited Biden to visit Brazil next year, “maybe to a state in the Amazon.”

The White House meanwhile said the two leaders had discussed plans for a US “green trade mission” to Brazil in September.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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